Green Bay Packers‘ starting tight end Jermichael Finley left Sunday’s win early in the fourth quarter after receiving a violent hit in the head from Cleveland Browns’ safety Tashaun Gipson. Finley was carted off the field and taken to the intensive care unit at a local hospital.
Earlier today, we reported that there still remained uncertainty around Finley’s injury despite him being released from ICU earlier today.
ESPN broke the news Monday evening that Finley suffered a bruised spinal cord. According to the source, despite the potential serious nature of the injury, there were “encouraging signs” after Finley underwent further tests at a local hospital.
The source also state that “his evaluation will be an extensive process, according to league sources, with his return indefinite.” It doesn’t sound like the Packers starting tight end will be back on the field any time soon.
Can confirm the ESPN report on #Packers TE Jermichael Finley here. Suffered a bruised spinal cord in neck. Expected to undergo more testing.
— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) October 22, 2013
“More testing” likely means the injury could be serious and have lasting ramifications for not only Finley’s season, but possibly for his NFL career. The Packers placed safety Nick Collins on injured reserve a day after he injured his neck in 2011. Collins never played again in the NFL.
Let’s hope Finley doesn’t suffer a similar fate.
Many of the Packers players and Coach McCarthy didn’t believe Gipson’s hit was “dirty” or warranted a fine from the league. McCarthy explained it by saying, “I don’t know really what you can do, it just seemed like one of those situations where it just kind of went that way.”
Josh Sitton also didn’t believe it was a dirty play. “Jermichael put his head down, bracing for the hit, and it’s just one of those things that’s going to happen in this game.”
It appears it was just a violent collision between two players running over the middle of the field. Gipson didn’t lead with his head, but used his shoulder instead. From an outsider’s view, it still seemed like the Browns’ safety could have let up and avoided striking Finley’s head, but I’m sure the speed of the game makes this tougher than it seems sitting at home.
All reports at this point state that Finley’s return is indefinite. If the 26-year-old tight end has to miss a significant amount of time, the Packers will start Andrew Quarless at tight end.
Quarless has been a solid run blocker, but up to this point in the season, he hasn’t played a major role in the Packers passing offense. Green Bay will definitely miss Finley’s ability to stretch the middle of the field and produce a mismatch against less athletic linebackers.
We’ll continue updating you here at Lombardiave.com on Finley’s status throughout the week. Hopefully, we’ll learn more when Coach McCarthy addresses the media again on Wednesday.